Microsoft’s Anti-Spyware program is causing troubles for people who also use Symantec’s Norton Anti-Virus software. It seems that a recent update to Microsoft’s anti-spyware application claims Norton to be a password-stealing program and advises users to remove it.
According to several different support threads over at Microsoft’s user groups forum, the latest definitions file from Microsoft “(version 5805, 5807) detects Symantec Antivirus files as PWS.Bancos.A (Password Stealer).”
When Microsoft Anti-Spyware users remove the flagged Norton file as prompted, Symantec’s product gets corrupted and no longer protects the user’s machine. The Norton user then has to go through the Windows registry and delete multiple entries (registry editing is always a dicey affair that can quickly hose a system if the user doesn’t know what he or she is doing) so that the program can be completely removed and re-installed.
Microsoft said it is shipping updates that repair this problem, but judging from the growing number of other threads on this in that forum, this is turning out to be a pretty big issue for companies that have installed Microsoft’s free anti-spyware product inside their networks. It’s important to note that Microsoft’s Anti-Spyware product is still in beta mode: The company’s product page clearly says that Microsoft Anti-Spyware should not be deployed in production systems. This clearly shows that people in future should not ignore warnings about beta products.